social media

Digital Rhetoric: Doing Things with Words Online

Digital Rhetoric: Doing Things with Words Online

It is with great joy and relief that I can post my capstone, “Digital Rhetoric: Doing Things with Words Online”.  The free download is located in the digital commons on Kennesaw State University library site. I would love to hear your thoughts on this project. Here is the abstract:


“Digital Rhetoric: Doing Things with Words Online”.

It is through rhetorical principles applied to digital writing that online writers can be heard above the din confronting weary online browsers. The synergy between classical rhetoric and new media practices leads to persuasive and memorable digital writing. Despite the hurried clip and the complex nature of technology, grounding writing in firm rhetorical concepts can produce compelling online content. The purpose of this capstone project is to teach specific audiences how to do things with words online through a series of three modules whose unifying themes include the broad topics of targeting niche audiences, persuasive writing, and using the digital medium of communications.

Twitter 101: A Series on Authentic Tweets

Twitter 101: A Series on Authentic Tweets

Twitter 101

One of the comments I received after my workshop, Connecting in an Authentic Way, was an alert to write this post – actually, a series of posts on how to use Twitter to help you get your words out.

This idea was spurred by this honest response to my survey:

The workshop was alot like the internet itself-all over the place. Their seemed to be no real, clear cut dissemination of info, just a bunch of links with one sentence summations about how much Lisa liked them. 

Thank you for this honest response! I appreciate honesty. I was aware that the presentation was all over the place. It is important to me to get it right, even after the workshop is over. The comment forced my hand away from my graduate thesis to my keyboard. I am writing a series of posts to supplement and strengthen what we started last Saturday in the workshop.

Many pre-workshop questions were about Twitter. A topic worthy of a series of blogs to help me use the tool better and maybe it will help someone else. Therefore, Twitter 101. Our class is in session. Please tell me what you think, respond with questions, and lets learn from each other.

I found this comprehensive overview of Twitter on Slideshare. So our first lesson in Twitter 101 will be this wonderful summary from  Bryony Taylor.

Our next class in Twitter 101 will be, “Using your Twitter, a Micro-blog as a Micro-bulletin”

Remember, it is all about relationship! Share this one of your friends so they can participate in our discussion about Twitter.

View more PowerPoint from Bryony Taylor
Digital Native, Digital Immigrant, Digital Wisdom

Digital Native, Digital Immigrant, Digital Wisdom

One professor lamented while taking the Quality Matters Certification workshop, “I need to take a sabbatical just to learn all this technology. I will never keep up with my digital natives.”  This instructor has a bigger problem than her lag in technology skills; she does not understand her students. A “digital native” is a limited description of current students in an online or a traditional classroom.

In 2001, Marc Prensky invented the term digital native to describe the generations born after 1980 and the “first generations to grow up with this new technology.” He referenced neurologist Dr. Bruce D. Perry of Baylor College of Medicine to support his theory that “today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors” (Prensky, Digital Natives: Part Two). Prensky generalized digital immigrants by saying, “As Digital Immigrants learn—like all immigrants, some better than others—to adapt to their environment, they always retain, to some degree, their ‘accent,’ that is, their foot in the past” (Prensky).

Prensky’s motivation, while academically altruistic, may also have reflected a vested interest (Prensky, n.d.). He built an industry around the message that educators need to learn the language of the “digital natives.” “This is not just a joke,” he (2001 2) said. “It’s very serious, because the single biggest problem facing education today is that our digital immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language [that of a pre-digital age], are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.” Prensky implored the digital immigrants to lose the accent.

According to Jeremy Mims (n.d.), digital native is a term “coined by Marc Prensky in 2001 (likely with the best intentions). But really, it’s just being used as a catch-all demographic for young people, and a way for people who don’t actually understand technology to sling _____ in sales meetings to those who know even less.”

Labels used for groups of people are never definitive. Why are natives those born after 1980? Why not 1984? 1990? Why not the year Facebook launched—2004? Labels limit, especially if they are misplaced. Even worse is being defined by your accent.

Labeling students as “digital natives” and instructors as “digital immigrants” places unnecessary barriers on the already difficult work of online education. It hinders innovation by believing less of yourself as an instructor with digital wisdom – with years of experience.

Labels help us organize: they help us store messy things in neat packages. Labels are great for files and boxes, but not so great for people. And so it is with the idea of a digital native. A person demonstrating the type of digital prowess Prensky talks about may be a 65-year-old professor who knows more about writing in the digital environment than her 18-year-old first-year student. The “younger generation” may be more comfortable with technology, but they may also lack the digital literacy of someone older and wiser.

Another assumption that was shared by several of the seasoned professors in my Build a Course workshop was that discussion boards did not mimic a face-to-face class interaction. Some of the class seemed to agree and no solutions were offered. A silent concession was made to the QM requirement for discussion boards, but (wink-wink) discussion boards are not really effective. The inference, online discussions are not authentic or productive. Personal experience and progressive online teaching tactics tell me otherwise.